Understanding users undergoing change: exploring responses to an innovative, hybrid first-year writing program

Date

2003-08

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Texas Tech University

Abstract

Technical communication, rhetorical theory, user-centered theory, diffusion theory, and complexity theory—five disparate areas brought together in this dissertation for the purpose of examining the 'real life' adoption of an allegedly user-centered innovation. The consequences of this project are vast and may be of particular interest to technical communication scholars and practitioners, writing program administrators, software developers, usability engineers, and writing instructors who teach technical communication and/or first-year composition. The project contains five chapters, each of which represents a hierarchy of concerns, the ultimate of which is the tension that arises whenever technical communication scholars and practitioners apply the term user-centered to the design or development of an innovation.

Chapter II provides a critical analysis of the term user-centered as applied in much of current scholarship in Technical Communication. Chapter III explains the rationale behind the methods used in this project. Through an introduction to diffusion theory, this discussion suggests an alternative way to examine the theory and practice of user-centered design. Chapter IV provides preliminary results from the first two sets of data collected using the primary research instrument from this study. Chapter V takes a closer look at the data collected via three methods, the Stages of Concern Questionnaire, the ICON listserv, and the first Composition Program Town Hall meeting. Chapter VI offers a brief summary of the research project, discusses its significance to the field of technical communication and rhetoric, looks to some alternative methods for analyzing the data surrounding this innovation, then looks to some of the specific ways I intend to expand and extend this project.

Thus, the purpose of this project is to gain a better understanding of some of the ways in which writing instructors respond to the simultaneous adoption of both a pedagogical and technological innovation. Its goal is to develop more effective means for accommodating the needs of writing program administrators, software developers, writing instructors, and their students.

Description

Keywords

Technical communication, Rhetoric -- Study and teaching, Writing -- Technological innovations, Writing -- Computer-assisted instruction

Citation